An update highlighting issues we face as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.
American Catholic Council Media Coverage
Nearly 2,000 Catholics from across the United States and from several foreign countries descended on Detroit’s Cobo Center this past weekend for the American Catholic Council: Celebrating the Spirit of Vatican II. The Council was widely covered in the media from several points of view. Here are several stories, commentary and a YouTube video:
Bishops’ Meeting Yields Only Minor Dallas Charter Changes
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Seattle June 16, and clergy sexual abuse was at the top of the bishops’ agenda. But the bishops did little more than tweak the Dallas Charter, missing an opportunity to make the Charter more effective in protecting children. Here is VOTF’s response.
Dioceses Are Lagging Behind in Commitment to Thwart Clergy Sexual Abuse
Nicholas Cafardi was a member of the USCCB’s National Review Board in 2003 when proposals were requested for research into the clergy sexual abuse scandal that eventually became the John Jay Reports. He wrote in Commonweal earlier this month about how dioceses are “Lagging Behind: The Second John Jay Report & the Vatican’s Letter to Bishops.” Here’s a pertinent quote from his commentary, “That leaves one other factor that helped cause the epidemic: the bishops themselves. As did the National Review Board’s 2004 report, the John Jay Report (released last month) clearly identifies the bishops’ inadequate response to reports of child sexual abuse as one of the major factors in the crisis.”
Legal Action Taken Against K.C.-St. Joe Diocese
In a situation that has roiled the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, Diocese for months, a law firm has alleged the diocese broke binding legal commitments by not reporting cases of allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy to authorities. In December 2010, child pornography was found on the computer of local pastor Fr. Shawn Ratigan, who was arrested May 19. The Kansas City Star reports that Ratigan raised red flags long before the present furor.
Is Vatican Attitude Toward Child Sexual Abuse Changing?
During a press conference announcing a symposium on sexual abuse to be held in Rome next February and an Internet learning center on responding to the scandal, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s promoter of justice Msgr. Charles Scicluna made several interesting points. He said the sexual abuse of minors within the Church requires a strong response that is “not inertia, a culture of silence or repression.” He also claimed the lay faithful “must know that they can turn to the nuncio when there are issues that have repercussions in the pastoral ministry of bishops.” And he said bishops have a duty to address the abuse crisis. He also referred to the Vatican’s letter to bishops on guidelines for dealing with clergy sexual abuse. Here’s a link to the letter. When will we see concrete changes? In case you haven’t realized by now that Rome moves with glacial speed, the Vatican announced this past Tuesday its long-overdue report on its treatment of children would be submitted to the United Nations this fall, 14 years after the U.N. requested it.
Here are a couple of recent editorials from Massachusetts newspapers, the Attleboro Sun and Quincy Patriot Ledger, that show, like others we’ve featured in Focus, how more and more people are “getting it” with regard to the Church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis and its need for reform.
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